*Flint Water Crisis ~ Access to clean drinking water is a concern all over the world, but in the United States it’s often a foregone conclusion.
That is not the case recently for the residents of Flint, Michigan, many of whom we now know have been exposed to lead in their tap water.
Flint Water Crisis
It’s a crisis, one to which the American people readily responded by donating water and resources to help alleviate the immediate pain.
“Understanding the extent of the impact is a big challenge and will require different solutions,” expresses Mike Miller, Head of Google Michigan.
“Today Google.org is providing $250,000 in grant funding to partners in the Flint community to help resolve the crisis, with a special focus on using data and technology to better understand the impact from the contamination levels and provide information to its citizens.”
First, Google made a $150,000 grant to the University of Michigan-Flint to enable the University of Michigan-Flint to develop a comprehensive data platform that will assist government and community leaders in making more informed decisions about the Flint Water Crisis and providing critical information to citizens.
The funds will support student researchers at the University of Michigan, Flint and Ann Arbor campuses, to do this work under the leadership of Professors Mark Allison (Flint) and Jake Abernathy (Ann Arbor) to answer key questions about the Flint Water Crisis and response, such as the probability of lead levels before they are tested.
Flint Water Crisis
The team plans to develop a platform and app that visualizes the data and also provides the ability for citizens to seek out and request key services, such as reporting concerns about water and requesting testing kits. Google volunteers will provide guidance and mentoring on the technology and product design.
“This investment by Google is an outstanding commitment to our community,” shares Chancellor Susan E. Borrego of the University of Michigan-Flint. “It creates an ideal combination of an industry powerhouse with faculty expertise.
It will create new opportunities for students and continue building community partnerships — all so that we can provide quick and critically important information and analysis for our community as we move forward.”
Google is also providing $100,000 to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint for its Flint Child Health & Development Fund, which is working to ensure the short-term and long-term positive health outcomes for Flint children, especially those exposed to elevated lead.
Google’s Black Googler Network is also working with the Community Foundation on this project and will help raise funds and provide support. Local Googlers have also raised $30k towards response efforts in Flint and are continuing matching campaigns.
“The water crisis requires both immediate and long-term resources to help Flint recover,” shares U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee.
“Google’s grant will enable the University of Michigan to help our community start planning how we can fix this problem for the long term, and get us on track to get clean water to Flint families.”
Here’s a deeper dive into each grant.
University of Michigan: $150,000 for a comprehensive data platform
Google’s grant will enable the University of Michigan to develop a comprehensive data platform that will assist government and community leaders with making response decisions about the crisis and providing critical information to citizens.
Google’s grant funds will pay for student researchers at U of M – Flint and Ann Arbor to do this work under the leadership of Professors Mark Allison (Flint) and Jake Abernathy (Ann Arbor).
- In Ann Arbor, Professor Jake Abernathy and his Michigan Science Data Teamwill bring together and analyze existing datasets and information sources to answer key questions about the response, such as the probability of lead levels before they are tested.
- In Flint, Professor of Computer Science Mark Allison is working with a team of student researchers to develop a mobile website and app that visualizes the data and also provides the ability for citizens to seek out and request key services, such as reporting concerns about water and requesting testing kits.
A portion of the funds will support community partners, including the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, to collect data that will feed into the system and conduct community outreach. Googlers are providing guidance and mentoring on the technology and product design.
Community Foundation of Greater Flint: $100,000 for the Flint Child Health & Development Fund
The Flint Child Health & Development Fund was created by The Community Foundation of Greater Flint, a local non-profit organization that has been operating in Genesee County for almost 30 years.
On January 11, 2016, they established the Flint Child Health & Development Fund to ensure the long term health of Flint families. The Fund was created to help newborns to children 6 years old, the group most vulnerable to developmental issues from lead.
The Fund is a supplemental resource to the ongoing pursuit of state and federal funding.
Grants will be advised by a committee of community members with representation from Flint residents, Greater Flint Health Coalition, Hurley Children’s Hospital, Mott Children’s Health Center, United Way of Genesee County, and Community Foundation of Greater Flint.
Google, and specifically Google.org, develops and invests in pursuits that can have measurable impact on local, regional and global issues, and rallies Google’s people in support of these efforts with a singular goal of creating a better world, faster.